Dear People of God and Fellow Saints:
It has been some time since we have written to you via the pages of our Standard Bearer; and now, with a new school year well under way, we thought it best to give you some news about activities on “Seminary Hill.”
With one exception, all of our students of last year are back. This includes seven in the Seminary Program and four in the Pre-Seminary Program. Of the seminary students, four will be finishing their work, the Lord willing, this coming June. One of these is our brother from Singapore, Lau Chin Kwee, who will return to Singapore next summer to take up his labors in Christ’s vineyard there. The other three are Thomas Miersma, Jon Smith, and Deane Wassink. Our pre-seminary students are in their last year of pre-sem, and will graduate, therefore, this coming spring, in order to take up their seminary work, D-V., a year from now.
All of this ought to impress on the minds of our people the abiding need of new students. We have no new students this year; and there are at present no students in the first three years of the pre-sem program. It may seem that there is no pressing need for students either, but we remind you that the words of the Lord Jesus remain always true: “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:37,38
Most of you know by this time that the Synod of 1981 granted Prof. Hoeksema a partial sabbatical. The fact that it is “partial” means that Prof. Hoeksema is still in Seminary several times during the week. He teaches his course in Hebrew Grammar and participates in the weekly practice preaching sessions. While this enables him to remain a part of Seminary life, it also frees him to do some of the writing he has long wanted to do. His first major project is an update and rewriting of the history of our Protestant Reformed Churches.
Speaking of practice preaching, we have begun something new this year. Many of you know that Wednesday mornings we regularly had chapel exercises. In the past the professors led these chapels. This semester the students are in charge of chapel; but chapel is combined with practice preaching, so that the students deliver their assigned sermons. In this way we have our regular devotions but also give to the practice preaching sessions a somewhat less mechanical and somewhat more devotional atmosphere. So far this experiment has worked out well.
Because we have no new students this year, the regular loads of Profs. Decker and Hanko were somewhat lighter. This enabled them to take the subjects which Prof. Hoeksema was scheduled to teach. This semester Prof. Decker is teaching Medieval Philosophy, and Prof. Hanko is teaching Dogmatics III.
We also take this opportunity to thank all of you who have contributed so generously to our Library Fund. Because of this generosity, we have been able to continue buying books for our ever expanding library. We may also report that our student librarians have almost completed the work of switching our library from the Dewey Decimal cataloguing system to the better and more commonly used Library of Congress system–a great improvement. We remind you, too, that our library is open for use to all our people. Even those from out of town may borrow by mail. We ask only for prompt return of borrowed books.
Our space is about filled. We bid you all farewell, coveting your prayers and wishing you all the Lord’s richest blessing.
Fraternally in Christ,